Without a doubt, one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He will be sorely missed.
My memories of Randy date back to when I was eight years old. He was involved in some of the most intense feuds the business has ever known. From Hulk Hogan, to the Ultimate Warrior, to Jake Roberts, to Ric Flair, to Crush and beyond. When the Macho Man was on screen, something different was going on. You didn’t have that safe, “oh, it’s just a show” feeling. Randy knew how to kick it up several notches. So much that even the most skeptical, full grown adults in the house would be holding their breath thinking to themselves “Oh my God! That wasn’t supposed to happen…”
I remember the snake biting incident, in which Randy was tied up in the ropes and Jake Roberts unleashed a king cobra to bite his arm. You could hear horrific screams from the audience practically in unison as the serpent clamped down. No one had ever seen anything like this in wrestling before. A real king cobra was really biting Randy’s arm! No props. No theatrics. A real animal clamping down on a real human being producing real blood. People were aghast and in disbelief. Why would anyone agree to do this? Another reason to call Randy the Macho Man, seriously.
Then, of course, there was Wrestlemania VII. Randy losing a career-ending match to the Ultimate Warrior after the two put on the best match of the night. Afterward as Randy was attacked by his manager at the time, Sensational Sherri, Miss Elizabeth ran in and threw her out of the ring. Then, Randy and Elizabeth reunited in what was the most emotional moment in wrestling history. People in the audience were balling with tears of joy. I had never, and have since never seen anything like it.
Who could forget the EPIC match with Ricky The Dragon Steamboat at Wrestlemania III? Widely considered one of the greatest matches in professional wrestling history, and rightfully so. Macho and the Dragon put on a clinic. A groundbreaking, influential masterpiece that would inspire future workers for generations. This match has been reproduced so many times by so many different people and it never fails to entertain. To any and all kids thinking about breaking into this business, seriously, get you a Wrestlemania III tape and study the Macho/Dragon match.
So many memories. My brain is spinning like a slot machine right now. I think of the feud with Ric Flair in the WWF. The whole picture angle they ran with Flair claiming Elizabeth was cheating on Randy with him. When Randy got his hands on Ric at times it seemed like they were really street fighting. I remember the heel turn angle with Crush on Monday Night Raw, when Crush dropped Savage across the guardrail and lacerated his tongue. That feud was HOT. The treatment that program got. The times where Randy ran in and attacked him again had people wondering if there was more going on than what might’ve been in the script. It all culminated at Wrestlemania X when Randy left Crush hanging upside down, reminding everyone watching that you don’t have to wear a championship belt to entertain. And in 1996 in WCW, Macho was involved in the beginning of a world-altering event in the wrestling business when Hulk Hogan stormed to the ring to seemingly bail out Randy from the Outsiders, only to turn heel and attack Savage, join the Outsiders, create the NWO, and kick the Monday Night Wars between WWF and WCW into overdrive and send wrestling peaking deep into the mainstream.
Randy understood the business. He knew how to work the magic of wrestling. He controlled people’s emotions better than just about anyone. He was truly entertaining. His interviews were over-the-top. His ability to switch from explosive maniacal outbursts to calm, cool, and calculating mumbles of impending psychological malice were the stuff of legend. No one did it better. All these things are what puts Randy in the wrestling Hall of Fame. No, not the WWE’s annual scripted version (although I’m sure that isn’t far off). The true Hall of Fame; the memories of millions of lifelong wrestling fans. Celebrations of stardom and a truly magnificent career. Memories that will live forever.
Rest in peace, Macho Man.